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Global flower delivery service Interflora comes to India

Neil Whittaker, head florist Interflora UK, talks about the craft of floristry and bringing Interflora to India

A hat and bag designed by Neil Whittaker.
A hat and bag designed by Neil Whittaker. (A hat and bag designed by Neil Whittaker.)

How can you make your roses last longer? “Gently trim the stem every other day. The stem of the flower develops a film over it and seals it, preventing the flower from absorbing water. By gently trimming it, you allow the water intake." How can you prevent it from drooping? “Cut the stem. Dip the cut stem in a cup of boiling water for 60 seconds. You’ll see air bubbles float up. Re-cut the stem and place it back in the vase. The rose droops because the stem gets airlocked, and now that you’ve taken the airlock out, the flower will be able to intake water again." That’s flower trivia from Neil Whittaker, head florist, Interflora, UK. The company, founded in 1923, has the largest flower delivery network, across over 140 countries. Whittaker is also director of the Uniflorist florist school in Shanghai, China, and runs the floral design school, The Design Element, in Manchester, UK.

Interflora opened in Mumbai earlier this week in partnership with online gifting portal It will open in New Delhi next month, and plans to open thereafter in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune, followed by smaller towns. “India is the biggest exporter of roses and is a huge hub for sourcing flowers. But we lack standardized production of flowers and expertise of floristry. That’s why the launching of Interflora in India is good for the flower industry in general," says Tarun Joshi, co-founder of and president and chief executive officer of Interflora India, overseeing the final touches to Interflora’s newly opened factory floor in Mahim, Mumbai.

It has spectacular arrangements of exotic orchids, calla lilies, hydrangeas, peonies, chrysanthemums, carnations, alstroemeria in bunches, linear and parallel forms, composite styles, set in glass globes, hand-tied bouquets and held up with flower-collars. Interflora’s signature includes “flowers to wear" arrangements where Whittaker crafts elaborate English hats, corsages, even handbags made entirely out of fresh flowers. The Interflora India website currently has 50 different types of arrangements. Offering a seven-day guarantee, the flowers come with a care guide and a special food that maintains the pH balance of the water and provides nutrients to the flowers.

Prices range from Rs1,500-7,000;

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